“Tejido en El Cielo,” which translates to “Woven in the Sky,” is an art installation in the Mexican town of Etzatlán. Fresno will be the first U.S. town to receive such an installation in September. Images contributed by Miguel Arias
Written by Gabriel Dillard
In the town of Etzatlán in the Mexican state of Jalisco, brightly colored fabrics hang above the streets — a “Woven Sky” art project covering almost 97,000 square feet, woven by the hands of 199 craftswomen and one male artisan.
Later this year, Fresno will be the first city in the U.S. to have this type of art project — an example of international connections being facilitated in the Central Valley.
A recent trip by Fresno officials and business leaders to Mexico is fostering economic and cultural connections between Fresno and Jalisco.
Earlier this month, members of the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation (FAHF) visited Jalisco to meet with business representatives, government authorities and educators to promote opportunities for economic growth and education.
FAHF CEO Dora Westerlund, Fresno City Councilmember Miguel Arias and Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval came along to strengthen the local relationships the region has with Fresno.
In addition to cultural and economic opportunities, Arias said another reason for the trip was to secure artwork for the “Tejido en El Cielo,” which translates to “Woven in the Sky,” to be installed in Fresno.
The project first took life in 2017 from the vision of two women in Etzatlán, Lorena Ron and her 90-year old mother Paloma. By 2019 the number of women participating in the project grew to 200.
It was declared the world’s largest crochet canopy by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2019. In March, the crocheted canopy was put on display at Dubai’s World Expo.
Arias said that a similar crocheted canopy will be installed on Fulton Street in Downtown Fresno, covering two blocks from Fresno Avenue to Tulare Avenue in mid-September during the celebration of Mexican Independence Day
There is an agreement between the City of Fresno and the artists of the project to purchase some of the knitting artwork to be displayed for the Fiesta Patrias festival Sept. 16-17.
Ten of the primary artists that worked on the canopy in Etzatlán will fly to Fresno for the installation of the project. Plans allow for it to be taken down and reknitted with a new design every few months.
“We are hoping to make a connection that will let consumers get direct, quality arts and crafts from Mexico in Fresno’s Fulton Street, in a festival that celebrates the multiple regions of Latin America,” Arias said.
The connections with our neighbor to the south continue. Mayor Jerry Dyer and Fresno City Councilmember Luis Chavez will be traveling to Guadalajara this week at the invitation of its Mayor, Pablo Lemus, to sign a Sister City Agreement five years in the making.
“We hope this is the first step in what will prove to be a mutually beneficial relationship that will drive economic development and joint investment opportunities in both cities, as well as increased tourism, and cultural, business, medical, security and technology exchanges. Guadalajara is one of Mexico’s premier cities, and is just a short, direct 3½-hour flight from Fresno. I believe this relationship will greatly benefit our city,” read an email statement from the Mayor’s office.
For more information, see The Business Journal’s Friday print edition.